PHILIPPINE shares snapped three days of decline on Thursday amid improved remittances and as the implementation of an alert level system in Metro Manila started.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 88.23 points or 1.28% on Thursday to close at 6,968.43, while the all shares index climbed 45.90 points or 1.07% to 4,323.53.

“Market went on bargain hunting after three days down at the start of localized or granular lockdown as NCR’s (National Capital Region)… and with remittances higher year on year,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

Metro Manila is now under Alert Level 4 as the government shifted the capital to looser restrictions despite rising infections and hospitals remaining full.

The Health department reported 16,989 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Wednesday, bringing active cases to 170,446.

The Health department’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard showed the country has administered over 40.03 million jabs so far, with nearly 17.68 million fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached a seven-month high in July, reflecting the improved employment situation in major economies that have begun recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cash remittances rose 2.5% to $2.853 billion in July from $2.783 billion a year earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Wednesday.

For the first seven months of 2021, cash remittances stood at $17.771 billion, up 5.8% from the $16.802 billion in the same period of 2020.

“Though still in trickles and inspired by the inoculation ramp-up and economic reopening, foreign investors are buying up the market in increasing frequency of late and at the higher range of the PSE trading band, which suggests the rally may have further to run,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

Foreigners turned buyers anew, recording P53.9 million in net purchases on Thursday from the P73.03 million in net outflows logged on Wednesday.

All sectoral indices posted gains on Thursday. Services went up by 44 points or 2.40% to end at 1,871.30; property gained 66.14 points or 2.19% to 3,075.79; industrials rose 150.05 points or 1.48% to 10,246.84; financials went up by 8.83 points or 0.62% to 1,432.53; holding firms improved by 40.13 points or 0.57% to 7,013.71; and mining and oil inched up by 6.25 points or 0.06% to 9,609.74.

Value turnover inched down to P7.37 billion with 1.07 billion shares traded on Thursday, lower than the P7.55 billion with 1.51 billion issues logged the previous day.

Advancers beat decliners, 103 versus 90, while 47 names closed unchanged. — K.C.G. Valmonte